Puy Saint Vincent culminating at an altitude of 2700 metres and Pelvoux-Vallouise at 2300 metres, are two ski resorts offering some great winter sports.
The first location, Puy Saint Vincent boasts 75 kilometres of slopes ranging between 2700 and 1400 metres, which include treelined and open areas with a 360° degree view of the most beautiful summits of the Écrins.
25 kilometres of slopes – ranging from 2300 metres to 1200 metres awaits skiiers in Pelvoux-Vallouise, including a downhill run of over 1000 metres in a natural setting, that can be completed in one go.
The advantage of these two resorts is its vast offer of free skiing tracks . One can experience tracks in a natural, protected environment. The Pays des Écrins is a discreet spot for freeriding. The off-piste areas are accessible from the ski lifts, but at the skier’s own risk, for a 1500 metre drop in altitude.
Skiing instructor Fabien Rulfo says: “for freeskiing and freeriding, it’s the Col du Bal in Puy Saint Vincent. Accompanied by an instructor, this descent features a significant drop in altitude and exceptional terrain”. Beyond merely teaching skiing, Fabien seeks toshare his appreciation of a spot. Understanding the landscape helps to anticipate and provide a better ski experience. “The idea is to learn a fun and pleasing way to descend a mountain by understanding the terrain to get the most enjoyment out of it and being free to perform the simplest or most complicated figures”.
In his opinion, the advantages of the area are varied. “The Pays des Écrins’ resorts have a multitude of hidden, secret spots both on and off the slopes. Depending on weather conditions, one of them will always be accessible. The larch trees that are abundant up to 2000 metres make it possible to ski in bad weatherconditions and the strong sunshine makes for pleasant skiing throughout the winter season”.
The “Derby de Vallouise” on 25th March 2017: two runs, two domains.
A steep, festive descent is on the agenda! The younger version of the Derby de laMeije will be taking place in the Pays des Écrins for the first time. What makes it special? Participants will need to tackle the slopes of both resorts in the Pays desÉcrins including a 1550 m drop for Puy Saint Vincent and 1100 m drop for the Pelvoux-Vallouise resort. The “Derby de Vallouise” is a race that combines all types of winter sports, with participants aged 16 and over. All the following sports will be represented and organised by category and gender: skiing, telemark skiing, snowboarding, in fancy dress and other means (sledge, mountain bike, cross country skis, rubber rings, etc.)
There will also be a youth category (for under 18s). The goal is to start from the highest point of each resort and reach the lowest point as quickly as possible enjoying a fun atmosphere throughout the day. Registration: Association “MADIJIHU”
Tel. +33 (0)7 83 66 90 11 www.derbydelavallouise.com
Natural ice climbing – The Pays des Écrins is one of the most spectacular ice climbing sites in Europewith over 300 waterfalls freezing to become ice falls. When winter sets in, the deep valleys are at their best. This is particularly the case for the Fournel and Fressinières valleys.
Winter mountaineering – Most professional mountain guides offer this activity that teaches the alpine progression and safety techniques used during high mountain ascents. The aim is to cover ice and snow routes, combining ice falls and snow ski mountaineering. For all these activities, mountain guides offer individual and group outings.
Why choose the Pays des Écrins? Two resorts – Three Nordic areas and high mountains nearby – Eight typical mountain villages – Skiing at bargain prices, (6-Day Galaxie pass in Puy Saint Vincent: Adult €165-Child €132, 6-Day pass in Pelvoux-Vallouise: Adult €79.30-Child €61.90)
Special offers at the resorts – “Ski holiday experience, for couples or friends”. From €359/person/week based on two paying. From €320/person/week based on three paying. (7 nights + 6-day pass + 6 days’ hire (Excluding €20 booking fee and optional insurance).
Information/Booking Tel. + 33 (0)4 92 23 58 55. www.puysaintvincent-reservation.com
The Pays des Écrins is an area steeped in history. The first mountaineering ascensions took place in the 19th century. There are signs of industrial historylinked to the silver mines and hydroelectricity. The presence of the Waldensians’in the Fressinières Valley from the 12th century highlight the area’s religious history and architectural history is illustrated with a large array of sundials and vernacular heritage typical of the alpine villages. The valleys, villages, pastures and high mountains bathe in sunshine and are located between the Durance river and the Barre des Écrins (4102 m).
How to get here: By plane, Turin Airport then by shuttle or car. By train, TGV Paris-Milan to Oulx then by shuttle, or the overnight train from Paris to l’Argentièreles Écrins.
* Off-piste skiing should be with mountain specialists, ski instructors or mountain guides and relevant equipment (transceiver, shovel, probe).
Photo courtesy – Jan Novak/OTI Pays des Ecrins